Waiting tables can burn you out hard, especially if you’re the type of person who hustles. After 20 years of serving low-life miscreants, my burn-out was way beyond being tired of it. Every fiber of my being was just done with it. It got to the point that everyone I waited on was a motherless, ill-bread moron, and I loathed the fact that they even decided to eat out. How dare they?
It was a slow burn, but when it all came down, I happened to be working at the absolutely worst corporate atrocity I’ve ever seen. Worse than Crapcake Factory, DUI Friday’s, or The Olive Dungeon combined. It was L___’s Seafood House. What a hole. Positively miserable, and soul-sucking. Despair lives in the air at L___y’s. Oh, and there has been some talk about Regional Managers having the moral gauge of Bernie Madoff in these stories. The RM at L___’s was as bad as they come. He was, I think, actually born under a rock, and raised by salamanders. Living proof that RMs are walking dumpster juice. The servers were the most miserable you will ever see. Totally defeated, and afraid to have a personality. The management team had less personality than a dirty sponge between them. God, was it awful. We had to use a script, verbatim, with every single table. Yes, I said verbatim, and managers would hover to make sure it was being done.
The unhappiest, most self-concerned, and greediest server was, of course, a trainer. Her name was Rosa, and in her mind “trainer” meant, “I can skate on my side work and nit-pick everyone to death to make it look like I’m working, and I can pick and choose my tables and customers, regardless of any floor plan, or anything the door staff has to consider. The best part is that I can act like I’m in on something with management, and when they’re around I can act buddy-buddy with them and become scrutinizing of the servers I was just laughing with before the manager came around. Trainer is muy bueno, I’m so entitled. Excuse me, I have to talk about you in Spanish with the kitchen staff. We like doing that to white people.”
One night, at closing, I told that crazy old bat to get out of my face and shut the fuck up. I pointed out that the tasks to be completed are clearly posted, as they have been for years before even her highness was there. I let her know that I’ve been doing it now for quite some time, with absolutely no problems rolling a napkin around a fork, or pouring something from one container to another. I suggested that she might want to pitch-in instead of gripe, and maybe we can go home tonight. I was a little loud, and a little abrasive. Not really. Actually I scolded the bitch like a piss the bed toddler, and kept her droopy face quiet all night.
The next day at work the GM, Troy, a grossly obese, touting his ghetto upbringing like it was a badge of honor, losing his breath after three steps, walking down hallways sideways, zero class, idiot son-of-a-bitch, called me into his office. “Here we go,” I said to myself. He gets me in the office and played the worst good cop I had ever seen. This fucking Shamu is playing me? WTF, and why? Scale breaker told me how he knows that Rosa is a pain in the culo, and he’s surprised it didn’t happen sooner. Mr. bed sheets for briefs failed to look me square in the eye once. That cowardly, buffet-bankrupting, dickhead.
Over the following couple of weeks, Troy became unaware of my existence. He had forgotten to put me on the schedule one week. When I asked him why his blubber-laden brain let that slip, and told him that a whole side of beef is a lot of breakfast to take on, which could take any of the miniscule amount of fumes he mistakes for energy away, possibly causing him to forget something, like putting me on the fucking schedule, and I hope he can get his fat ass out of the chair without cardiac arrest, to print me a schedule before I do something really mean like phone in bomb threats to all of the all-you-can-eat menudo joints in town and change the lock to the walk-in and the freezer. He had somehow managed to completely conceal his neck as he sat in his office chair, which was about be rendered useless any day now, gasping for air and barely able to huff out the words, “I’ll… call… you… tomorrow… with… your… schedule… hh… hh… hh.” He did; I wrote it down as I have been doing for many years and magneted it to my fridge, like usual.
On Mother’s Day I was scheduled to be at work at four. I got there at 3:30 and Troy called me into his office as soon as he saw me. Ken, the pasty manager who couldn’t keep his shirt tucked in, and once cried when a waitress asked him if he was gay, came in behind us and shut the door. Oh, shit. Troy handed me a write-up for the Rosa incident. I signed it, clearly remembering our conversation about this three weeks ago. He took it, and filed it. I thought it was done, but Troy started breathing like a sick ape and I knew he was gonna start talking. Ken stood as close as he could to the corner, quivering, ready to squirt any moment. Troy gasped to me that it is Mother’s Day and tardiness can’t be tolerated on a day like today. He was pulling another slip from another file. I told him I was 30 minutes early. He showed me the paper he was pulling from the file. A schedule, matching the one on my fridge exactly, with the small exception of the one hour discrepancy on Mother’s Day.
His schedule said 3 o’clock. He was trying not to appear how aware he was that he’s the slickest pavement cracker on the planet, but his upper lip was trembling. He was impressed with himself when he handed me the termination papers. As proud of himself as he must have been when he ate his first block of government cheese in record-breaking time, thus shattering the family record that his great-great uncle’s friend’s cousin’s hairdresser’s pimp set in 1944. I couldn’t help but to laugh-sigh when I was signing it. It was a relief on one level, but kinda shitty on another. Whatever.
I tried to say, “Sorry about the mix-up, dude,” but I barely got two words out before he dissed me like he was some kind of hot-shit gangster shot caller and said, “C’mon let’s go.” I moseyed outta there and he waddled behind me, barely keeping up, or even able to walk, for that matter. He wanted to be sure I left. I did, and the last thing I heard about him was from my lawyer who had called him up to ask why my last paycheck came in the mail two weeks late with twenty-seven hours missing from it. She thought he was very polite and extremely helpful.
- Franky G